ST. PETERSBURG — If it wasn’t for pitching coach Jim Hickey constantly asking how his forearm felt Saturday during his bullpen session, Chris Archer said he wouldn’t have remembered the tightness in the area of his pitching arm that forced him out of his last start in the second inning.
“That was the first time I thought about it,” Archer said.
Archer, a right-hander, said his arm felt fine the day after he was removed from the game against the Diamondbacks. The tightness wasn’t an issue when he played catch Friday. So by Saturday, he was ready to throw all his pitches without hesitation. Hickey’s inquiries re-enforced Archer’s belief the injury was due to a cramp, dehydration from spending four days in the Arizona desert or, perhaps, having swung a bat during the second inning.
“It just gives you peace of mind like that’s gone,” Archer said. “That doesn’t exist anymore.”
Which allows Archer to be fully focused on tonight’s start against the Mariners that kicks off this six-game homestand.
When asked about the importance of starting the first game of a homestand following a winless road trip, Archer said: “Every game is crucial. ... It’s a cool opportunity to be where we’re at and to be one of the five starters, to be a part of something that can potentially be great. It feels really nice.”
Archer is 5-1 with a 1.91 ERA in his last nine starts. He was 1-3 with a 5.03 ERA in his first four.
After losing to the Giants on Aug. 2 and suffering the injury-abbreviated outing in Phoenix, Archer said he’s ready to return to what he did well during the month of July when he was 5-0 and named the AL pitcher and rookie of the month.
“Stay within myself, continue to build on the things that we’ve been building on the past two months since I’ve been here and the outcome will take care of itself,” he said. “Continue to stay focused on the process and the outcome and results will take care of itself.”
Rays add to bullpen
The Rays obtained left-handed pitcher Wesley Wright from the Astros on Monday for cash consideration. He will join the bullpen today.
To make room on the 25-man roster, the Rays optioned reliever Josh Lueke back to Triple-A Durham.
“I’m excited,” Wright told MLB.com on Monday in Houston. “It’s an opportunity to go pitch for a contending team and something I’ve always wanted to do, and to get this opportunity now is kind of shocking, but I’m also excited about it.”
Wright was 0-4 with a 3.92 ERA for the Astros in 54 appearances this season — the most in the AL by a lefty. He struck out 40 batters in 411⁄3 innings.
For his career, right-handers are batting .266 against him, while lefties are hitting .236.
Those numbers flipped this season. Lefties have jumped to a .305 average while righties are batting .250.
The Rays will have to make another move — probably to drop a position player — on Thursday when RHP Alex Cobb (concussion/blister) comes off the disabled list.
Tonight’s game begins a stretch where the Rays play their final 46 games of the season in a 48-day period. The only scheduled off days are Aug. 22 and Sept. 9. That final off day comes after a 10-game West Coast trip. ... UTL Ben Zobrist is errorless in his last 65 games at second base. ... Rays starters have failed to finish five innings six times in their last nine games. Prior to that they had gone at least five innings in 32 consecutive games. ... The final Bark in the Park is Sunday. The Rays’ wives will collect dog and cat food to benefit the Pet Pal Animal Shelter. A special seating area in the upper deck in left field will be set up for dogs and their owners.